Radio 1’s George Ergatoudis calls Apple a “huge disruptive monster”

Apple and Beats are set to launch a new streaming service in June

BBC Radio 1 Head Of Music George Ergatoudis has declared Apple a “huge disruptive monster”.

Ergatoudis was addressing an audience of radio professionals at the Worldwide Radio Summit in Los Angeles last week (April 24) alongside BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra controller Ben Cooper. The pair delivered a joint keynote presentation on the future of radio.

Former Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe left the station in March to work for Apple in the US on the company’s forthcoming streaming service, set to rival Spotify.

Earlier this week (April 29) Music Business Worldwide revealed that Apple has “poached” more talent from the station with four top producers leaving to work on the new service. One of them is believed to be Zane Lowe’s former producer James Bursey.

Ergatoudis warned that Apple would be a big threat to radio stations around the world, describing them as “the sharks taking our audience away”.

As reported by the BBC, he said the technology firm’s “piles of cash” and ambitious ideas could change the face of radio forever. He said their new streaming service was being built upon a “huge amount of learning from traditional radio” and would force the radio industry to up their game.

Cooper opened the presentation with the statement “Radio is dead!” and went on to detail the role smartphones should play in its future. He explained how Radio 1 had lost a large portion of its “young audience” to YouTube. “The answer is to visualise a lot of our content,” he said.

As well as behind the scenes talent, it was also recently revealed that Apple and Beats are targetting exclusives from musicians including Taylor Swift and Florence And The Machine for the launch of the streaming service this summer.

Bloomberg reports that the tech giants will aim to secure the exclusive streaming rights to new Florence + The Machine album ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’, due for release in June, as well as the back catalogue of Swift, who famously withdrew all her music from Spotify in 2014.

Beats were acquired by Apple in a $3bn deal last year, with the two companies now developing a product to rival music-streaming giant Spotify as well as Jay Z’s newer Tidal.